The Difference Between Stick, MIG, and TIG Welding

the difference between MIG and TIG welding

Welding is an art form. It takes patience, skill, technique, and the right equipment to produce a quality weld. And while there are many different welding methods, such as stick welding or TIG welding, there are two primary types of welding: MIG (Metal Inert Gas) and TIG (Tungsten Electrode Gas). Here’s what you need to know about each type: 

Stick Welding 

A technique that uses an electric arc between a consumable electrode called a “stick” fed continuously by wire from one electrode feeder through another electrode feeder with intermittent manual feeding at intervals from the ground clamp. Nikolay Slavyanov invented the process in 1890. Stick welding is still immensely popular today as it offers excellent joint penetration and offers tremendous control over weld bead size and form.

The technique uses a self-shielded electrode wire or stick, which protects against contamination during production. Electrodes are available with different types of tips for varying applications, such as electrodes for all positions, such as flat, horizontal, and vertical. They are available with different types of coatings designed to reduce spatter.

welder working with a MIG welding machine in proper safety wear

MIG Welding

In the MIG process, a welding wire electrode is fed from an automatic wire feeder into the weld pool through an arc struck between the workpiece and a constant voltage consumable wire electrode (often referred to as a “stick”). The resulting weld pool is protected from the contamination of the atmosphere by a sloping shield that directs spatter toward the ground.

The advantages of MIG welding are its ability to use all commercial grades of steel and aluminum. It can produce good results in low heat input applications like auto body and frame repair, and it is easily automated.

The disadvantages include:

  • there is a higher initial cost of equipment and consumables, 
  • the MIG welding process uses an open arc process, 
  • greater chance of contamination by dipping the final weld into a chemical solution (which helps prevent spatter from oxidizing immediately), 
  • inadequate shielding gas coverage leading to heavy spatter and splatter, and 
  • greater difficulty in achieving a wide range of weld bead profiles.

TIG Welding

TIG is another gas welding method that uses an electric arc’s heat between a tungsten electrode (consumable) and the workpiece to melt them together. Tungsten has a high melting point, so it makes for an ideal welding electrode. The tungsten is fed manually through a foot pedal.

An inert gas shielding protects the weld pool from contamination by the atmosphere while allowing efficient heat transfer to the workpiece. The technique was invented in the 1940s by Russell Meredith, who developed it so that welders could produce ships and airplanes faster.

Learning about a TIG welding machine

TIG welding is best used for fillet and groove welds that produce little slag; manual TIG welding accounts for a small percentage of all fusion or resistance spot welding, but there are applications with advantages over MIG: namely in the field of creative jewelry making and sculpture.

Another benefit is that having no arc to clear means less stress on the material being welded, which can be advantageous when welding delicate objects.

TIG Advantages:

  • The TIG welding process produces cleaner and stronger joints.
  • Usually requires only a single pass for fillet welds of relatively small diameter in thin metal. This pass is generally much cleaner than a comparable fillet weld made with MIG. 
  • You can weld a wide range of metals.
  • The TIG process produces fewer flames and heat making it more comfortable to work with.
  • It can be used for automatic and manual welding. 

TIG Disadvantages:

  • It requires a shielding gas, usually argon or helium. 
  • Usually requires a lot of patience because TIG welding is slower than other types of welding. 
  • The TIG welding process can be more expensive because you have to work slower.
  • While using the TIG welding process, welders are exposed to intense light that can cause eye damage. 

If you’re looking for more information on how TIG works or what its advantages and disadvantages are over other types of welding processes such as flux-cored arc (FCAW) or stick methods – we’ve got you covered! Check out our MIG and TIG welding machines by clicking here! If you have any more questions or want to know more details check out our website!